A bad tire is like to a bad attitude, you won’t get anywhere until you change it! Keeping the tires on your car in optimal condition is pretty important if you want to continue to get from point A to point B. Just like your favorite tennis shoes, the tires on your car incur wear and tear every time you put them in motion, so it’s essential to not only take proper care of your tires but also to recognize the warning signs that it might be time to replace them. You can extend the life of your tires, increase driver safety and maximize fuel efficiency with a few simple tips.
- Check tire pressure regularly – Under-inflated tires require more energy and can increase fuel consumption and wear on the tread, whereas over-inflated tires causes less rubber on the tire to maintain contact with the road resulting in reduced performance levels. Improper inflation often leads to uneven wear on the tread of your tires and can compromise safety on the road. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended air pressure for your car. It will be referenced in psi (pounds per square inch) and can also be found on the label inside the door jamb of most cars. Inexpensive air pressure tire gauges are available at most department stores and many gas stations have tire pressure gauges onsite.
- Routinely inspect tires – Be sure to pay attention to your tires. Make it a habit to do a visual inspection when you are pumping gas for instance. Look for nails, screws or glass in your sidewalls and pay attention to how your tread is wearing. Many newer cars have built-in sensors for tire pressure and tread wear but visually inspecting your tires is still the first step in preventing tire issues.
So when is it time to replace your tires? Most new tires have a recommended mileage maximum. But being aware of the warning signs that your tires need replacing is crucial to keep your car driving safely on the road.
- Tire bulges – When tires wear unevenly, the outer surface can sustain bulges that can lead to a sudden blow-out as the surface weakens further. A tire should be replaced immediately if you notice any kind of bulge anywhere on the surface.
- Vibration – If you feel increased vibration while driving, you may have a number of issues like worn shock absorbers or a tire out of balance. But excessive vibration can cause premature wear and misalignment. Have a mechanic determine if you need a new tire or all your tires replaced.
- Sidewall damage – Cracks in the sidewall could be an indication of a leak or a potential blow-out. If you see any sidewall damage, it’s a safe bet your tires need replacing.
- Tread depth – Your tire tread should never be less than 1/16th of an inch in depth. And in this case, more tread is better. An old school trick to spot check your tread depth is to take a Lincoln penny and insert good old Abe’s head (head facing down) into the tread. If Lincoln’s whole head remains visible, it’s time to replace your tires.
We depend on our cars for so many things. It’s really simple, take care of your tires and they’ll take care of you. Are you interested in learning about a career in the automotive industry? Check out the programs at J-Tech Institute. J-Tech is committed to helping students achieve their career goals in the automotive, diesel and transportation industry by offering comprehensive, hands on training, flexible options and employment assistance. Call J-Tech today to schedule a tour of our training facility and jump start your future!